Visit to Boston to Hear the Sublime Sound of PeterA

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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I have to confess I was quite impressed to see little notes on each of Peter's records noting:

1. Proper VTA
2. Last time it was cleaned
3. What machine it was cleaned on
4. How many times it has been cleaned

Much more meticulous that me!

RIAA curve setting? ;)
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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Scotch straight up, w ice, cherry on top?
 

Don C

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Jul 21, 2013
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A lot of very expensive equipment and Peter loves the sound!

However, the ultimate in playback sound are obviously limited by the room IMO.

Sitting up against the rear wall, a fireplace behind the speakers, and a piano, and large furniture in a small square room, is a no no.
 

BlueFox

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Nov 8, 2013
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It is now plausible to me that people who find Magico speakers bright or analytical have never heard them in systems which have been lovingly adjusted and tuned carefully over a long period of time.

While I agree, I don’t think you need to adjust them over a long period of time.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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A lot of very expensive equipment and Peter loves the sound!

However, the ultimate in playback sound are obviously limited by the room IMO.

Sitting up against the rear wall, a fireplace behind the speakers, and a piano, and large furniture in a small square room, is a no no.

i suppose if Peter were to claim his room has 'ultimate' in playback sound i could understand where you are coming from with these comments. Peter has a system that fits into his wonderful lifestyle. i think he gets a good ROI from his gear with his top level attention to detail.

appraising a room sound from a picture is a mistake, IMHO......particularly a 'living room' situation with openings, furniture and other variables......it can work very nicely with careful set-up. fireplaces can be an asset too. you simply cannot generalize. more often than not these lived in rooms work well at reasonable SPL's. i had a similar sized room for years that had great sound if limited in scale and higher SPL handling. i think i felt similarly positive about that room and the sound i was getting as Peter does his room.

OTOH if a room/system owner offers pictures and listening feedback and asks for help with some sort of measured or perceived problem then at least we have something to react to.

otherwise we are guessing.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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Don, if you think Peter's room is challenging, you should have seen my old room
90% square, over 50% cube
Acres of concrete and glass, minimal soft furnishings
Despite size, almost impossible to site any acoustic treatments
And resultant "challenging" sound
 

dcc

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Nov 4, 2012
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There are several members who visited Peter and who are attesting that his system sounds great. Peter has got Jim Smith to come to his place and fine tune/optimize his system.

At least his room has character so so does his house. I would pick his room at any time against some man’s caves.
 
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Al M.

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i suppose if Peter were to claim his room has 'ultimate' in playback sound i could understand where you are coming from with these comments. Peter has a system that fits into his wonderful lifestyle. i think he gets a good ROI from his gear with his top level attention to detail.

appraising a room sound from a picture is a mistake, IMHO......particularly a 'living room' situation with openings, furniture and other variables......it can work very nicely with careful set-up. fireplaces can be an asset too. you simply cannot generalize. more often than not these lived in rooms work well at reasonable SPL's. i had a similar sized room for years that had great sound if limited in scale and higher SPL handling. i think i felt similarly positive about that room and the sound i was getting as Peter does his room.

OTOH if a room/system owner offers pictures and listening feedback and asks for help with some sort of measured or perceived problem then at least we have something to react to.

otherwise we are guessing.

Yes, Peter's room works surprisingly well, and even at high SPLs (greater than 100 dB on orchestral music). The Magico Q3 speakers are an ideal solution for his room. They are narrow and disappear spectacularly well in terms of soundstage in his not large room (it's a monitor like disappearance act). Their sealed construction also allows for close to ideal bass in the room that goes more than sufficiently deep. For some reason the room creates adverse acoustic conditions for a subwoofer arrangement.
 

MadFloyd

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May 31, 2010
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Very few, if any, rooms are perfect and I don't think anyone would say Peter's room is.. and I could see how someone might judge a book by its cover (I know I've been guilty of that) or suggest that certain attributes of a room are degrading the sound. I've also seen the opposite - some photos of systems just scream "omg, this must sound amazing" but where the actual sonics do not match up.

I always assumed Peter would never get a sound that did justice to symphonic music in that room, but since he got his Q3s I've heard some incredible symphonic music there (smaller scale music has always sounded good at Peter's).

Yeah, never judge sonics from a photo...
 

PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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A lot of very expensive equipment and Peter loves the sound!

However, the ultimate in playback sound are obviously limited by the room IMO.

Sitting up against the rear wall, a fireplace behind the speakers, and a piano, and large furniture in a small square room, is a no no.

Hi Don. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about my gear and room. I would also like to thanks those members who have read this thread and shared their opinions.

Yes the equipment is expensive, but I have usually gotten pretty good deals on the individual components. I completely agree with you that the room is far from ideal. It has many challenges, but it is the compromise with which a must live. As I have done before, I must again compliment my wife who puts up with my passion for music, with the gear, and with sound from our living room. She is a saint and it is one of the many reasons I cherish our relationship.

I have done my best to mitigate some of the issues which you have identified. I have gone to some lengths to describe my efforts in my virtual system thread. However, as far as I can remember, I have not made any claims about achieving "ultimate playback" from my system. As has been mentioned above by those members who have heard my system, I can now more fully appreciate large scale music at louder volumes and with lower distortion than I once could.

I do enjoy the sound of my system, and I have learned about how to improve it over time with the help of friends, dealers, and specialists like Jim Smith. Should you ever find yourself in the Boston area, I invite you over to hear the system for yourself. If the weather is good between mid May and mid October, you can even join me for a sail. Please send my a PM if you are interested. You may be pleasantly surprised by the sound of the system and room, as have been a few visitors, one of which is Ron Resnick who started this nice thread about what he heard.

Happy Spring!
 
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PeterA

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Yes, Peter's room works surprisingly well, and even at high SPLs (greater than 100 dB on orchestral music). The Magico Q3 speakers are an ideal solution for his room. They are narrow and disappear spectacularly well in terms of soundstage in his not large room (it's a monitor like disappearance act). Their sealed construction also allows for close to ideal bass in the room that goes more than sufficiently deep. For some reason the room creates adverse acoustic conditions for a subwoofer arrangement.

Thanks Al. I don't know what to conclude about the two times I tried to integrate subwoofers into my system. Both attempts involved my former Magico Mini 2 speakers. Perhaps it was simply difficult to match those subs with those monitors. Perhaps it is the unusual challenge that those two spaces on either side of the fireplace present to speaker integration. Perhaps I just don't have enough bass traps for those frequencies in this room due to both aesthetics and space requirements. Perhaps I never gave it enough time and effort to properly integrate the subs. As many know, good subwoofer integration is difficult, even without the challenges that my room presents.

Another possibility may simply be that those speakers just can't be perfectly mated to subwoofers as Alon Wolf suggested to me. I asked him if he recommended subs in my particular situation and he said no. He suggested switching to a larger three way speaker design instead, claiming there would be too much of a gap between the sub and the lower extension of the Magico two-way speakers. Jim Smith tried to integrate two JL Audio subs and we found that the sound had some advantages and some disadvantages compared to the Mini 2s alone. Ultimately, I slightly preferred the clarity and cohesion of the Mini 2s alone, so I sold the subs saving both space and money. Others may well have preferred the sound with the two subs. I think that would depend on a listener's preference.
 

cjfrbw

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Apr 20, 2010
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Heh, Heh, must be fun having your setup microscopically analyzed and broadcast.
What? What's that? Huh?
 

Al M.

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Thanks Al. I don't know what to conclude about the two times I tried to integrate subwoofers into my system. Both attempts involved my former Magico Mini 2 speakers. Perhaps it was simply difficult to match those subs with those monitors. Perhaps it is the unusual challenge that those two spaces on either side of the fireplace present to speaker integration. Perhaps I just don't have enough bass traps for those frequencies in this room due to both aesthetics and space requirements. Perhaps I never gave it enough time and effort to properly integrate the subs. As many know, good subwoofer integration is difficult, even without the challenges that my room presents.

Another possibility may simply be that those speakers just can't be perfectly mated to subwoofers as Alon Wolf suggested to me. I asked him if he recommended subs in my particular situation and he said no. He suggested switching to a larger three way speaker design instead, claiming there would be too much of a gap between the sub and the lower extension of the Magico two-way speakers. Jim Smith tried to integrate two JL Audio subs and we found that the sound had some advantages and some disadvantages compared to the Mini 2s alone. Ultimately, I slightly preferred the clarity and cohesion of the Mini 2s alone, so I sold the subs saving both space and money. Others may well have preferred the sound with the two subs. I think that would depend on a listener's preference.

As I heard it, Peter, the bass of the subs somehow stood apart as a separate entity, something that I never experienced in my room. It made a weird impression of a "cheap" add-on.

This has little to do with a potential gap in the mid-bass; when with my older monitors and less room treatment I had one, the subwoofer bass still did not stand apart as a separate entity. So it seems to be a specific room issue.

As for Alon Wolf's comments, we have discussed them before. I disagree with them and take them with a large grain of salt, as slanted towards Magico's own subwoofer designs which specifically seem to be geared towards just filling in the low bass that their multi-way speakers may not fully express.
 

PeterA

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As I heard it, Peter, the bass of the subs somehow stood apart as a separate entity, something that I never experienced in my room. It made a weird impression of a "cheap" add-on.

This has little to do with a potential gap in the mid-bass; when with my older monitors and less room treatment I had one, the subwoofer bass still did not stand apart as a separate entity. So it seems to be a specific room issue.

As for Alon Wolf's comments, we have discussed them before. I disagree with them and take them with a large grain of salt, as slanted towards Magico's own subwoofer designs which specifically seem to be geared towards just filling in the low bass that their multi-way speakers may not fully express.

Al, are you referring to the one REL subwoofer that you and I failed to integrate over a couple of hours or the two JL Audio subs? I thought Jim actually did a good job of setting up the two small subs, but the sound to me was a bit less clear on small scale acoustic music which was what I was listening to mostly back then. I can't remember if you actually heard that combination before I sold it. It was a judgement call, and I opted to sell the subs and save the space and money. Others may have made a different decision.

I've heard the Magico S1, Q1, and Mini 2s a few times. Never have I heard them sound good with subwoofers, but perhaps there are some exceptions out there. I think most people just end up buying the S3 or Q3 instead, just as Mr. Wolf, or his dealers, suggest.
 

Al M.

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Peter, yes that was with the old REL Storm III subwoofer. While it was not as good as JL Audio subs, the artifact which I described, and which I did not hear in my room, made me conclude that your room has some unusual problems when it comes to integration of the sound from a subwoofer. Fortunately with the Q3 speakers in place, which deliver fine bass, no subwoofer is needed. This sidesteps any potential issue.
 

NorthStar

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Feb 8, 2011
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My personal opinion: If my music source consisted mainly of spinning analog records on a turntable, say around 90% more or less, I wouldn't even bother with subwoofers.

Subs, IMO, are a digital thing. ...CDs and Blu-rays. It's easier to implement them digitally with FIR and IIR filters from 1Hz to 250Hz, and the crossovers and their slopes.

Analog, me I prefer stay analog all the way ... 20Hz to 20kHz. ...Even 27Hz I'm happy music wise.
And my hearing on the top octaves is shut above around 13Hz.

If I was sixteen and my music source was a turntable, I'd be happy with speakers that can do from 30Hz to 16kHz ... sez. ...Good on and off axis.

It's a nice day today on this April 1st, 2019. It's great to be alive and see all that spring coming alive too. ...Plants, flowers, birds, trees, ....
 

Lagonda

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My personal opinion: If my music source consisted mainly of spinning analog records on a turntable, say around 90% more or less, I wouldn't even bother with subwoofers.

Subs, IMO, are a digital thing. ...CDs and Blu-rays. It's easier to implement them digitally with FIR and IIR filters from 1Hz to 250Hz, and the crossovers and their slopes.

Analog, me I prefer stay analog all the way ... 20Hz to 20kHz. ...Even 27Hz I'm happy music wise.
And my hearing on the top octaves is shut above around 13Hz.

If I was sixteen and my music source was a turntable, I'd be happy with speakers that can do from 30Hz to 16kHz ... sez. ...Good on and off axis.

It's a nice day today on this April 1st, 2019. It's great to be alive and see all that spring coming alive too. ...Plants, flowers, birds, trees, ....
Sounds like you need to improve your analog rig Bob;)
And good passive subs with analog crossover can do magic for soundstage
and deep bass.No digital needed.
 
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PeterA

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Peter, yes that was with the old REL Storm III subwoofer. While it was not as good as JL Audio subs, the artifact which I described, and which I did not hear in my room, made me conclude that your room has some unusual problems when it comes to integration of the sound from a subwoofer. Fortunately with the Q3 speakers in place, which deliver fine bass, no subwoofer is needed. This sidesteps any potential issue.

Al, Perhaps I will one day try a pair of small subwoofers again in my room with my new Q3 speakers. I will then have a better sense of whether or not my former attempts at subwoofer integration had more to do with my old speakers or with my room or with some combination of the two.

Honestly, right now I don’t really know the answer to that question. One fairly successful effort with Jim and one not so successful one with you is not enough data to conclude the room is at fault, IMO. They were both with the same Mini 2 speakers and I did not spend a lot of time in either case trying to get it optimal. I can only go by what I heard with Jim Smith that one time, what I heard with you that one time, and what Elon Wolf told me when I asked the specific question.

We'll see what the future brings and if I ever revisit this.
 

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